Feeling blue? There’s something to do

Dr. Kelsey Backels
Guest Writer 
 
If you’re feeling depressed or know someone who is, there is a myriad of help available to you on Millersville University’s campus.
One way for students to get help and hope is through the Counseling Center on campus which has psychologists and an Alcohol and Other Drug counselor to deal with everything from eating and anxiety disorders to substance abuse, depression, stress management and relationship issues.
“We’re here to help students make the most of their college experience,” says Dr. Kelsey Backels, chair of Counseling and Human Development at Millersville. “Counseling is a process in which a counselor and a student work together to resolve issues that are of concern to the student.”
“One of the greatest fallacies students believe when coming to college is that they are in this alone,” says John Hearn, director of the Center for Student Involvement & Leadership at Millersville. “We all have that desire to connect and find someone who can simply say, ‘Me too.’  From feeling homesick and overwhelmed by the college experience, to just wanting to talk over coffee at Saxby’s, students are longing to find peers on campus who can extend a hand and say ‘Yeah, me too.’   That’s why it’s so important for students to get involved on campus.  From late-night activities and programs, to clubs and organizations, there are plenty of opportunities at Millersville for students to find their ‘me too’ community.”
Getting involved in campus life is a great way to create bonds and fight the feelings that you’re along in this transition:
Join a group, a sorority or fraternity
“Joining a fraternity or sorority is an excellent way to build a support system while on-campus and throughout life. Your brothers and sisters are there for you to celebrate milestones and face life’s challenges,” says Kyle Miller, coordinator for Greek Life and Leadership Programs at Millersville.
Intercollegiate Athletics
“Coaches are an extension of family for our student-athletes,” says Miles Gallagher, athletic director at Millersville. “We work to develop the whole person and create an inclusive environment where our students feel safe. Therefore, our coaches are in many cases the first person a student feels most comfortable talking too around difficult subjects. Coaches, athletic trainers and support staff in our department interact with students daily and as a result can see the signs of symptoms or changes in behavior. We train our department on best practices and campus resources to ensure we can serve our student-athletes and provide them all the necessary resources to get help.”
Campus Ministries/Religion
“Students will have many successes and struggles during their college days but it is important to know that there is always someone to come along side of them to listen and care for the various needs that may arise,” says Andrea Baker, advisor for Campus Ministries. “Campus Ministers are fortunate to have the support of administration to offer our students multiple ways to grow spiritually during their journey here at college.  In addition to Sunday morning church services in the SMC – there are weekly care groups, Monday night worships, group activities, and mission opportunities both locally and abroad.
“If a person is feeling so hopeless that they are talking about hurting themselves, there is help,” said Backels. “While suicide has become a public health issue, it is complex and there are often multiple causes for someone feeling hopeless. Sometimes it can be a psychiatric illness that is treatable.”
Millersville’s Counseling Center lists things to look for in a person who may be in emotional distress:
·        Skip classes, not show up for work and other obligations
·        Isolate from friends and withdraw from everyday activities
·        Punch walls, start fights, engage in impulsive behaviors
·        Neglect grooming, appear unkempt
·        Drink alcohol to excess or begin to abuse other drugs
·        Engage in self-injurious behavior such as cutting themselves
·        Use of negative emoticons
·        Posting on social media late at night
If you do notice signs in a person, there are things you can do:
·        Encourage your friend to talk by using phrases such as, “Do you want to talk about it?” or “What can I do to help?”
·        Listen carefully and without judgment
·        Be specific about what you noticed in their behavior
·        Avoid using the “Like” button or replying with an emoticon- send them a message voicing your concern
·        Enlist the help of an RA or GA to support your friend
·        Encourage your friend to call the Counseling Center for an appointment
·        Walk your friend over to the Counseling Center, for additional support

The Counseling Center at Millersville is located on the third floor of Lyle. You can make an appointment by calling 717-871-7821. The Office is open Mon., Tues., Thur., Fri. from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. and on Wednesdays from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
The Center for Student Involvement and Leadership (CSIL) is located in the Student Memorial Center (SMC) – Suite 118. Phone: (717) 871-7057. Email: csil@millersville.edu.
For a list of faith based clubs, campus ministers and off-campus worship, go to http://www.millersville.edu/campusministries/.
Additional outside resources:
·        The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has a list of risk factors and warning signs and information to bring hope to those affected by suicide.
·        National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
·        The Jed Foundation – https://www.jedfoundation.org/.
·        The Trevor Project- www.thetrevorproject.org.